May 18, 2012
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Virginia Tech Hokies scored two runs in the first inning and never looked back to defeat the UAB softball team, 4-1, on Friday in the first game of the Knoxville Regional of the 2012 NCAA Championship at Lee Stadium.
The Blazers (37-21) will play Tennessee on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET in an elimination contest. GameTracker, live video and a live in-game chat will be available for free via the links above. Miami (Ohio) defeated Tennessee, 1-0, on Friday.
"There were a lot of pluses in that game, but with the loss we aren't really focusing on that," UAB head coach Marla Townsend said. "We are looking at a couple things we regretted and that is not why we came to play. Thankfully it's a double elimination tournament and we have the opportunity to come out tomorrow play our game.
"There were opportunities in the game. I felt that we were one hit away from really breaking through and getting back in the game."
The Hokies (41-19) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Lauren Gaskill drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on a double by Courtney Liddle. In the next at bat, Kelsey Mericka singled to right field to score Liddle and give the Hokies the lead.
In the fourth inning, Betty Rose singled to right. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kat Banks and to third on a muffed catch by Lauren Webster covering first on the play. With no outs, Leigh Streetman entered the game in relief for starter Lannah Campbell. She struck out the next three batters to escape the inning.
UAB cut VT's lead in half in the sixth inning. Catherine Crawford and Mandy Lowman both walked, and Kristen McGrath stepped to the plate. With two outs, McGrath ripped a single down the middle to score Crawford.
Virginia Tech extended its lead, 3-1, in the bottom of the frame after Gaskill scored Banks. The game was then paused for a 50-minute rain delay. The break in play didn't deter VT as the Hokies added their fourth and final run on the first at bat after the delay.
"We did a good job putting the ball in play, but they made the plays," Townsend said. "The weak ground balls to the infield was something I was not pleased with. Our big hitters have got to get solid."
Campbell (15-7) suffered the loss, allowing five hits and two earned runs in 3.0 innings pitched. Streetman tossed the remaining three innings, scattering three hits and striking out six.
Virginia Tech's Jasmin Harrell (30-14) earned the win. She pitched all seven innings and allowed four hits, one earned run and four walks.